Thomas Bryant

Heat Notes: Mitchell, Rozier, Bryant, Robinson

The Heat‘s 2023 offseason was centered around their pursuit of Damian Lillard, and with the Cavaliers eliminated from the 2024 playoffs after falling to Boston in the second round, it could be a second straight offseason of star hunting in Miami. While Donovan Mitchell may ultimately agree to sign an extension with the Cavs, Miami figures to be among the teams pursuing the All-Star guard if he hits the trade market this offseason.

Recent reporting from The Athletic suggested the Cavs feel optimistic about securing a long-term commitment from Mitchell, but as we noted earlier today, that’s not a sure thing yet. If Mitchell were to ask out of Cleveland, any team acquiring him would need assurances he would commit long-term before sacrificing significant capital. Along with the Heat, the Lakers and Nets are teams frequently mentioned among those with potential interest in Mitchell.

As for the Heat, they may need Mitchell to use his leverage to push for a deal to Miami to have a realistic chance to land him, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. Other teams with potential interest could outbid the Heat, who only have one first-rounder available to trade if the situation doesn’t play out before this year’s draft. The Lakers will have three potential firsts and the Nets will have up to seven available to pursue Mitchell in this scenario, with Cleveland still set to owe Utah its first-rounders in 2025, 2027, 2029 and two pick swaps in 2026 and 2028.

Ultimately, there are more questions than answers when it comes to Mitchell’s future. If he does ask for a trade, the Heat would have to get creative in order to acquire him, Chiang writes.

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  • The Heat moved a first-round pick to acquire Terry Rozier before the 2024 deadline. It was only the third time Miami has done so in the past decade — the team also fave up first-rounders for Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler. According to Chiang, even though the veteran guard missed the playoffs due to a neck injury, the Heat have no complaints with Rozier and are pleased with what he brought to the team. “I had a great conversation with him about some things,” team president Pat Riley said. “He’s open, he wanted to know from me what I thought about what he can do even at his age, which is still young. I gave him my opinion and I’m sure he’ll work on it, But he was a great addition for us, absolutely.
  • Thomas Bryant signed with the Heat last season on a minimum contract with a player option for 2024/25. He wound up only appearing in 38 games with averages of 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds. While the vision was for Bryant to be the primary backup for Bam Adebayo and perhaps play alongside him at times, that didn’t come to fruition, Ira Winderman of South Florida’s Sun Sentinel writes. Bryant now must make a decision by June 29 on his $2.8MM player option for 2024/25. “The opportunities were not there all the time, but I believed it was things that coach [Erik Spoelstra] had to do,” Bryant said. “He was dealing with everything, as well. We had injuries and there were opportunities there for me, as well. I tried to capitalize as much as I could in those as many I had. But overall, I thought it was a great time.
  • Bryant’s decision may very well be the deciding factor for what the Heat do with another depth big in Orlando Robinson, Winderman writes in the same piece. Robinson was promoted from a two-way contract but hasn’t broke into the rotation yet, appearing in just 36 games with averages of 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds. The Heat have a July 15 deadline to guarantee his $2.1MM salary or to waive him and make him a free agent. Since neither Bryant nor Robinson made it into the rotation, it’s possible Miami looks to move on from one or both.

Heat Notes: Wright, Offseason Decisions, Butler, Draft

The Heat’s season ended in an appropriate way Wednesday night — with another new starting lineup. Injuries have forced coach Erik Spoelstra to juggle his rotations since training camp, and he unveiled his 37th starting unit in Game 5 at Boston, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

Rookie Jaime Jaquez was unavailable because of a hip injury he suffered in Game 4 and Spoelstra didn’t want to start Duncan Robinson, who has been limited by a back condition since late in the regular season, so veteran guard Delon Wright made the first playoff start of his career. Wright provided eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 33 minutes, but he had to leave the game briefly to get stitches in his lower lip and chin after being hit by an elbow.

In addition to Jaquez, Miami was without Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson, who all missed the entire series due to injuries. However, Spoelstra refused to use that as an excuse, Chiang tweets.

“We’re not going to put this on the fact that we had some injuries,” Spoelstra said. “Let’s not take anything away from Boston. They’ve been the best team in basketball all season long.”

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  • The early playoff exit leaves the franchise with a long offseason and a lot of financial decisions ahead, Chiang adds. Part of the future will be determined by player options held by Caleb Martin ($7.1MM), Kevin Love ($4MM), Richardson ($3.1MM) and Thomas Bryant ($2.8MM). Orlando Robinson has a non-guaranteed $2.1MM contract for next season, while Wright, Haywood Highsmith and Patty Mills are all headed for unrestricted free agency.
  • Miami faces a difficult decision on Jimmy Butler, who will become extension-eligible this summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes in his offseason preview for the Heat. Butler will make $48.8MM next season and holds a $52.4MM player option for 2025/26. Beginning July 7, he can sign a one-year extension worth $58.6MM, which would retain his ’25/26 salary, or a two-year, $112.9MM extension that would void the player option. Marks points out that Butler will turn 35 during the offseason and hasn’t topped 65 games in any of the last four years.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald examines the Heat’s options in this year’s draft. Players who could still be on the board when Miami picks at No. 15 include Purdue center Zach Edey, Duke power forward/center Kyle Filipowski, Providence guard Devin Carter, Colorado forward Tristan Da Silva, Duke point guard Jared McCain, Baylor center Yves Missi, Kansas small forward Kevin McCullar Jr., Baylor swingman Ja’Kobe Walter, USC point guard Isaiah Collier and Illinois shooting guard Terrence Shannon Jr.

Heat Notes: Herro, Starting Five, Defense, Love, Bryant, More

While Thursday’s loss to the Sixers was a disappointing one, the Heat had a good day on Friday, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, as Tyler Herro returned following a 20-game absence and scored 17 points in a convincing, much-needed victory over Houston.

“It’s just great to have him back,” Erik Spoelstra said of Herro. “His head coach didn’t forget what he brings to the table. That skill level, the creativity, the speed, the quickness, all that stuff is what we need.”

Herro came off the bench for the first time this season in his return to the court, as the Heat stuck with a starting lineup of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson, and Nikola Jovic. No five-man unit has started more games (13) or played more minutes together (170) for Miami this season than that one.

However, the results for that group have been mixed, as Chiang observes, with a -4.9 overall net rating, so Spoelstra won’t necessarily feel the need to stick with it now that the team is healthier. Herro had started 103 consecutive regular season games prior to Friday — it could just be a matter of time before he returns to the starting lineup.

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  • The Heat had another strong night defensively on Friday, according to Chiang, who wrote earlier this week about the way the team has been performing on that end of the court during the second half. Since January 30, the Heat rank second in the NBA (and first in the East) in defensive rating and have now moved up to No. 4 for the season. “It’s been a goal all season to get to top five and stay top five,” Caleb Martin said. “So it’s good that it’s starting to come around at the right time. I think that we always understand when it really comes down to it, that’s our ticket to winning the game, whether that’s in the playoffs or getting in a position to where we don’t have to worry about the play-in.”
  • Kevin Love, who has been back in the Heat’s rotation for the past three contests after missing 16 games due to a heel injury, went out of his way this week to praise his replacement, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “You got to tip your hat to TB (Thomas Bryant). He’s been playing awesome,” Love said. Bryant has been a DNP-CD in the three games Love has played, but earned praise from Spoelstra as well for the minutes he gave the club during Love’s absence: “It takes a professional like Thomas to have an understanding of that, this is what depth is all about. And obviously we’ve used all of our depth. But the depth becomes more complex when you have more guys available. He really gave us such tremendous minutes the last six weeks when Kevin was out.”
  • Haywood Highsmith didn’t open the season as a regular rotation player for Miami, but has become a trusted contributor and played nearly 27 minutes on Friday even with Herro back and the roster relatively healthy. “He’s so inspiring right now,” Spoelstra said this week, per Winderman. “He just continues to grind, continues to work, continues to get better. And he just does all the little things for our team, to help you win. You need players like this to win in this league.” Highsmith will be an unrestricted free agent this summer if he doesn’t sign an extension by June 30.
  • While the Sioux Falls Skyforce were eliminated from the G League playoffs on Friday, the Heat’s NBAGL affiliate earned a pair of end-of-season awards earlier in the day. Two-way player Alondes Williams, who was the runner-up for the G League’s MVP award, was named the NBAGL Most Improved Player (Twitter link), while Skyforce general manager Eric Amsler was the league’s Executive of the Year (Twitter link).

Southeast Notes: Bridges, T. Young, Heat, Bryant

After missing all of last season due to felony domestic violence charges, Miles Bridges has been the Hornets‘ consistent player on the court this season, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, who expects the veteran forward to “have a major influence” on the team beyond this season.

“I know I’m not in charge of all that stuff, but having him back with this team would be very crucial with LaMelo (Ball) and guys getting healthy and Mark (Williams) and those guys getting back,” teammate Grant Williams said. “I think it puts us in a great position. He does a phenomenal job of being a leader. He’s trying to change all this perception around the league and I think he’s done a phenomenal job of that.”

Bridges will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason after accepting his qualifying offer as a restricted free agent during the summer of 2023. He told the Hornets prior to last month’s trade deadline that he wouldn’t approve a trade, since he wanted to remain in Charlotte and retain his full Bird rights, so the club will be in position to re-sign him this offseason without needing cap room to do so.

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  • The Hawks issued a brief update on injured guard Trae Young on Tuesday, as Lauren L. Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution relays (via Twitter). The team said that Young – who hasn’t played since February 23 – is making progress in his recovery from a torn ligament in his finger and will “introduce small finger motion exercises” this week.
  • The Heat‘s franchise record for the most starting lineups in a season continued to grow on Tuesday, as the team deployed its 35th different group of 2023/24, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. With Jimmy Butler sidelined, a pair of in-season additions – Terry Rozier and Patty Mills – joined Bam Adebayo, Nikola Jovic, and rookie Jaime Jaquez in the starting five.
  • When the Heat signed Thomas Bryant in free agency last offseason, the plan was for him to be the club’s backup center, but he saw inconsistent minutes during the first half of the season as Kevin Love claimed that role. As Winderman writes for The Sun Sentinel, Love’s recent absence has opened the door for Bryant to play more regularly and he has averaged 7.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in 13.9 minutes per game across Miami’s past eight contests. “It’s been a journey,” Bryant said of his first season with the Heat. “For me, I just try to be as available for as many minutes as are out there.”

Heat Notes: Mills, D. Robinson, Jovic, Butler

The Heat used their 33rd different starting lineup in Wednesday night’s victory at Cleveland, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Veteran guard Patty Mills, who signed with the team two weeks ago, made his first start of the season and scored 10 points in 25 minutes. Chiang notes that Mills filled the floor-spacing role normally held by Duncan Robinson, who was sidelined by discomfort in his back.

Miami set a franchise record Sunday in Detroit with its 32nd different starting lineup, as coach Erik Spoelstra has been navigating a series of injuries since the season began. Center Thomas Bryant also started Wednesday, replacing Bam Adebayo, who is dealing with a lower back contusion.

Chiang points out that two-way players Cole Swider and Alondes Williams are the only members of the current roster who haven’t made at least one start this season.

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  • Robinson returned to Miami on Tuesday to visit a back specialist, Chiang states in a separate story. Spoelstra said Robinson is considered day-to-day, but Chiang notes that his status could change depending on the results of his exam. “He wasn’t going to be able to play today,” Spoelstra said. “So we might as well just get him checked out there and start that process with [Heat senior director of rehabilitation] Jeff Ruiz and try to get him back as quick as we can. “He’ll get a scan just to make sure we know what it is. He’ll work with Jeff, start that process right now and we’ll see where he is.” Robinson has been a constant for the injury-riddled Heat, appearing in 63 of the team’s first 68 games. Chiang suggests that Swider, who has only played 55 minutes all season, could see an expanded role with Robinson and some of the team’s other outside shooters injured.
  • Nikola Jovic was back in the starting lineup after missing two games with a strained right hamstring, Chiang adds. “I’m feeling a lot better,” Jovic said. “I went through a little practice yesterday and now the shootaround, and it feels a lot better.”
  • Jimmy Butler also returned after sitting out the past two games with a right foot contusion. It was just the 48th game of the season for Butler, but Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel says the Heat have proven they can be successful with that formula as long as he’s healthy for the playoffs.

Heat Notes: Mills, Herro, Love, Schedule, Martin

Patty Mills‘ debut with the Heat on Friday night looked familiar to coach Erik Spoelstra, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Mills provided the jolt of instant offense that Miami was looking for, coming off the bench to score 13 points in 16 minutes while shooting 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. It was similar to the performances he used to deliver for the Spurs when they faced Miami in the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals.

“That was great to see him finally do it in a Heat uniform instead of against us,” Spoelstra said. “We’ve seen that for too many years. You can see why he’s been able to do what he does. He’s ignitable, he’s smart, he’s been in a lot of very good systems so he knows how to fit even though he hasn’t had a practice.”

Mills matched his highest-scoring game of the season, as he was seeing limited playing time with Atlanta before being waived last week. There’s no guarantee that Mills will get regular minutes with the Heat once the roster is healthier, but his new teammates are aware of how he can help them.

“We all know what he can do,” Jimmy Butler said. “We all know what he’s going to bring to this team. I think that he’s a winner. He knows how to play the game of basketball. He has a very, very, very high IQ and he just wants to help in any way that he can.”

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  • Tyler Herro and Kevin Love have already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Washington, Chiang adds. Herro will sit out his eighth straight game with medial tendinitis in his right foot, while Love will miss his sixth in a row due to a bruised right heel. Chiang notes that Spoelstra has typically alternated between Orlando Robinson and Thomas Bryant at backup center when Love is unavailable, but neither of them played Friday in Oklahoma City as those minutes went to Nikola Jovic.
  • Heat players are cautioning against a letdown as they enter a soft spot in the schedule, Chiang states in a separate story. Locked in a tight race to avoid the play-in tournament, Miami will face 10-win teams in three of its next four games, hosting the Wizards tomorrow and traveling to Detroit for games on March 15 and 17. “Like every other game, with a sense of urgency,” Bam Adebayo responded when asked about the team’s approach. “So for us, it’s just having that same sense of urgency as if we were playing anybody else.”
  • Caleb Martin will likely need surgery this summer for a sprained thumb on his non-shooting hand, but he tells Chiang that he’ll continue to play through the pain for the rest of the season.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Collins, A. Ainge, Bryant, Rozier

Despite being involved in countless rumors in the months leading up to the trade deadline, the Hawks‘ front office decided to stand pat. As John Hollinger of The Athletic writes, Atlanta hasn’t made any type of significant move since trading John Collins to Utah last June in a salary dump.

It’s strange for a middling team to be so inactive, especially since the Hawks had high hopes after trading for Dejounte Murray a couple years ago. But pairing him with Trae Young hasn’t worked out over the past two seasons, particularly on the defensive end, Hollinger notes.

However, Young underwent successful hand surgery on Tuesday and will be sidelined for at least four weeks, giving Murray an opportunity to play his natural position — point guard — while Young is out. As Hollinger observes, despite his relatively diminutive stature, Young has been quite durable over the course of his career, so it will be the Hawks’ first real opportunity in several years to see what they can do without the three-time All-Star.

If the Hawks play well without Young, Hollinger wonders if they’ll be more inclined to trade the 25-year-old this summer instead of Murray, who is on a less expensive long-term contract. Either way, Hollinger argues the Hawks shouldn’t continue their transactional inactivity, as the current roster is too good to bottom out but not good enough to contend for anything meaningful.

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  • John Collins had an emotional return to Atlanta on Tuesday, per Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. The former Hawks big man spent his first six seasons with the team before being traded to the Jazz last offseason. “I was aware it was going to be very emotional for me. I was doing my best to not let it, but it did,” Collins said.
  • After previously reporting a few “prime” contenders to become the Hornets‘ new lead basketball executive, veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein adds another name to the list of possible candidates (via Twitter): Celtics assistant GM Austin Ainge, the son of Jazz CEO Danny Ainge. Austin has been with Boston in various roles for well over a decade.
  • The NBA will allow Heat backup center Thomas Bryant to receive his 2023 championship ring on Thursday in Denver, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link), who notes that suspended players are not normally permitted inside arenas on game days. However, the league decided to make an exception for Bryant, who will have to leave after the pregame ceremony. Bryant was a role player last year for the Nuggets.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald takes a look at what the Heat are expecting from trade acquisition Terry Rozier, who returned to action on Tuesday after battling a knee sprain. Rozier says he’s still trying to find the right balance now that he’s not the top offensive option like he was for part of the season in Charlotte. “For sure,” Rozier said. “Not trying to do too much, but you got guys over there screaming at me, telling me I need to shoot the ball. Just trying to figure it out. Wins is all we really care about.

Heat Notes: Butler, Bryant, Rozier, Herro

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was disappointed with the league’s decision to suspend Jimmy Butler one game for the altercation between his club and the Pelicans on Friday, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.

Nikola Jovic was also assessed a one-game suspension and Thomas Bryant received a three-game penalty. The Heat will be in action on Monday in Sacramento, so Bryant, Butler, and Jovic will miss that game. Bryant will also si out the team’s contests in Portland on Tuesday and Denver on Thursday.

“I had no idea what to expect,” Spoelstra said. “You know, at this point, it doesn’t really matter. They’ve made their decision on that. It felt like Jimmy shouldn’t have gotten a game on that. It’s really just kind of a tangling and a little bit of pushing. I don’t think that deserves another game because he ended up having to miss the fourth quarter. But it is what it is.”

Butler expected to receive some sort of suspension.

“It doesn’t surprise me, man. It doesn’t,” he said. “I’m basically still on All-Star break.”

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  • Bryant had a confrontation with Jose Alvarado after leaving the bench but wasn’t planning on getting involved in any fisticuffs. “From my point of view, I was coming in to be a peacemaker,” Bryant said, per Chiang. “I didn’t want any of my teammates to get hurt, I certainly didn’t want to get hurt at all. It just didn’t work out in the favor that I wanted.”
  • In the same story, Chiang reports that Terry Rozier could return on Monday after missing three games with a right knee strain. Rozier is listed as questionable. “He’s on the road trip for a reason,” Spoelstra said. “He’s working toward getting back. When that day will be, I don’t know yet. But he’s definitely making progress. His body will let us know.”
  • Tyler Herro will get an MRI after suffering a hyperextended left knee against the Pelicans. He’s also listed as questionable to play Monday and is optimistic that he won’t miss time, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. “It’s feeling good,” Herro said. “I’m going to get an MRI just for peace of mind, to make sure everything is good.”

Five Players Suspended For Friday Altercation Between Heat, Pelicans

Heat big man Thomas Bryant and Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado have been suspended three games apiece for leaving the bench area and fighting during an on-court altercation on Friday in New Orleans, the NBA announced today in a press release (Twitter link).

Additionally, Heat forward Jimmy Butler and Pelicans forward Naji Marshall will face one-game suspensions for instigating the incident, while Heat forward Nikola Jovic will be suspended for one game for leaving Miami’s bench area and entering the fracas, per the league.

The incident began when Heat forward/center Kevin Love wrapped up Zion Williamson as the Pelicans star attempted a layup early in the fourth quarter (Twitter video link). Marshall objected to the play and rushed to confront Love, resulting in Marshall and Butler getting into a shoving match, with players and coaches from both teams looking to intercede.

The altercation escalated briefly, then seemed to be cooling down before Bryant and Alvarado exchanged heated words and threw punches in front of the scorer’s table (Twitter video link). Butler, Bryant, Marshall, and Alvarado were all ejected from the game, which Miami eventually won.

The Pelicans will host the Bulls on Sunday, so Marshall will serve his one-game suspension tonight, while Alvardo will begin serving his three-game ban. Alvarado will miss games in New York on Tuesday and Indiana on Wednesday as well.

With Dyson Daniels (left knee) and CJ McCollum (left ankle) also unavailable for the Pelicans on Sunday and Williamson (left foot) and Brandon Ingram (non-COVID illness) considered questionable, the team recalled a handful of players – Jalen Crutcher, E.J. Liddell, Malcolm Hill, and Dereon Seabron – from the G League on Saturday for depth purposes.

The Heat will be in action on Monday in Sacramento, so Bryant, Butler, and Jovic will miss that game, with Bryant also sitting out the team’s contests in Portland on Tuesday and Denver on Thursday.

The three-game suspensions will cost Bryant $52,308 (of his $2,528,233 salary) and Alvarado $37,988 (of $1,836,096), per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links).

Because he’s on a maximum-salary contract, Butler will forfeit by far the biggest total ($259,968) of any of the five affected players, despite being suspended for just a single game. Jovic will lose $13,517, while Marshall will lose $11,096.

Heat Notes: Herro, Possible Suspensions, Wright, All-Star Game

Tyler Herro hyperextended his left knee late in Friday’s game, but the Heat guard doesn’t believe it’s a cause for concern, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Herro suffered the injury when he slipped and lost control of the ball. He grabbed at the knee in pain and had to be helped to the locker room, but he was moving fine after the game.

“It was just unfortunate having my knee bumped a little bit,” Herro said. “But I think structurally, everything is good — no major, even minor damage. They thought that everything was good. It just kind of scared me more than anything. It’s a little soreness. But I’ll see how I respond in the morning and go from there.”

Herro was already experiencing discomfort in his right foot, a condition that developed during the All-Star break, Chiang adds. He opted to play Friday because guards Josh Richardson and Terry Rozier are sidelined by injuries.

“It’s the same little area that I dealt with in the past with my right foot in my rookie year,” Herro said. “It’s the same thing as that. So we’re really trying to manage it right now.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Miami was able to hold on for a win Friday at New Orleans even though Jimmy Butler and Thomas Bryant were ejected following a fight early in the fourth quarter, Chiang states in a separate story. The scuffle began when Kevin Love tried to wrap up Zion Williamson on a layup attempt. Naji Marshall objected to the play, and he and Butler got into a shoving match. “I put my hand around his neck,” Butler said. “He put his hand around my neck, and it took off the way it did.” Several Heat players left the bench during the exchange, which will result in automatic one-game suspensions. Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) speculates that the suspensions may have to be staggered so Miami has enough active players for Monday’s game.
  • Delon Wright wasn’t used in his first game since signing with the Heat last week, Chiang adds. The 31-year-old guard has only been through one practice with his new team, and Chiang expects him to eventually get opportunities, especially with the banged-up backcourt. “He’s a guy that figures it out and we thought it would be a good fit for him and us, for the reasons of how he plays and how he competes and how he prioritizes defense and how disruptive he is on that side of the floor,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Then offensively, he’s always been a guy that just fits in, sets up a team. And those kinds of guys have a way of making it work quickly.”
  • In another piece, Chiang examines why Miami, a warm-weather city, hasn’t hosted an NBA All-Star Game since 1990.